Black Girl Gamers Threatens Legal Action Over Claims of Discrimination

Another video game consulting firm may be edging Sweet Bay Inc. out of the spotlight. Attention is now shifting to Black Girl Gamers, the group whose response to criticism spurred BBC game commentator Jules Hardy to ask that the video game community have a “final purge” and “full detox” of everyone opposed to Sweet Baby Inc. and its influence and practices. On March 15, 2024, several days before that incident, That Park Place published an article indicating that Black Girl Gamers has race-based and gender-based hiring practices based on the following X post from February, in which they asked specifically for “Black Women Content Creators that make Dungeons & Dragons content” to inquire with them about “potential brand work.” That Park Place also used the post in a subsequent article about Jules Hardy’s statements published yesterday, March 26, 2024. You can see the post below:

Yesterday, Black Girl Gamers made a thread on X refuting these claims of discriminatory hiring practices  and saying they’ve “taken steps to obtain legal counsel to take action” against That Park Place and the articles’ author, John F. Trent, and are threatening to do the same to anyone “who has reshared the false allegations.” You can read that thread below:

After this, Grummz, the X handle of former Blizzard producer Mark Kern, began investigating, and he both found and didn’t find some interesting evidence:

Meanwhile, a woman who claims to be a former employee of Black Girl Gamers claims that they’re lying:

I have no idea what Black Girl Gamers’ hiring practices are; believe it or not, I’ve never applied to work there. I didn’t even know they existed until yesterday, much like pretty much no one knew about Sweet Baby Inc. outside of the industry until they became news. And here’s the real kicker: I don’t care if they only hire black women. The name of their company is Black Girl Gamers; it’s kind of in the title. They should live and die by their work and accomplish it the way they want to, even if that means hiring only black women (and “non-binary” people as well, which undercuts their name… or it probably does, if “non-binary” means what I think it means). And, just like with Sweet Baby Inc., the market has spoken about Black Girl Gamers, as the latest big game on which they consulted, Forspoken, is not performing well for its publisher, Square Enix. In the first article they published about Black Girl Gamers, That Park Place quotes Black Girl Gamers’ website as saying:

“Black Girl Gamers were hired to consult Forspoken to provide insight on narrative and feedback on a pre-release build of the game that spanned from the gameplay experience to the portrayal of Frey as a female protagonist of Black descent including topics such as colorism and texturism. This was an important consultation given that Frey is one of the first female protagonists of Black descent in the fantasy game genre.”

What the hell are “colorism” and “texturism”? Both of them show up as misspelled when I type them, so this can’t just be me. At any rate, Black Girl Gamers was clearly heavily involved in developing Forspoken, down to “gameplay experience.” But Forspoken is not getting good reviews, nor is it selling well, according to a financial results briefing from February 2023 obtained by That Park Place, which mentioned “disappointing” reviews and “lackluster” sales that Square Enix believed portended “considerable downside risk” to their yearly profits. Indeed, Forspoken’s developer, Luminous Productions, is “merging” with Square Enix, which That Park Place attributes to the game’s lousy sales:

Black Girl Gamers, Luminous

And this was in 2023, before Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League got people to notice consulting firms like Sweet Baby Inc. and now Black Girl Gamers. As frustrating as bad games and unwanted sociopolitical influence on the video game industry may be, the market is speaking, and these games are crashing and burning. If Black Girl Gamers is only hiring black women (and “non-binary” people) to work for them, and I don’t know if they are, it doesn’t appear to be helping the games on which they consult. Perhaps if they didn’t focus so much on “colorism” and “texturism” (whatever those words mean) and were more concerned with making a fun game people enjoyed playing, they’d have a big win to tout on their website.

Back to their alleged hiring practices. Like I said, I don’t care if a company called Black Girl Gamers only hires black women, especially since they clearly can’t force anyone to buy their games. The problem is that what’s good for the goose isn’t good for the gander; discriminatory hiring practices are only ever allowed in one direction. For example, if a company wanted to make a hockey game and only hired Scandinavians, I doubt it would be okay. Or if they wanted to make a video game out of Commando or Jason Statham movies and hired only men to supervise the ass-kicking and reciprocal kicking of ass, that would be a problem, too. You can point to women being able to make entertaining action fare, and you’d be right, but white people can also make black entertainment, and men can make women’s entertainment. Norman Lear made The Jeffersons, Antoine Fuqua directed The Replacement Killers, Kathryn Bigelow directed The Hurt Locker and Point Break, Garry Marshall directed Pretty Woman and A League of Their Own, and Amy Henning wrote the first three Uncharted games. That doesn’t mean any form of discrimination is right or wrong, but it does mean that the standard should work for all of it, with the consumer deciding which, if any, works in practice. That’s what’s happening to these consulting firms, and I’m not talking about their hiring practices, whatever those may be; I mean their product.

*Correction: Gothix was not suggesting she was an employee of Black Girl Gamers but was a member of their community.

Comments (6)

March 27, 2024 at 6:21 pm

I like my colorism and texturism medium-rare, with a side of hate speech.

March 27, 2024 at 11:08 pm

“Gamers that thought the industry should revolve around them and their comforts are now realizing it doesn’t.”

Black people that thought a TV show about feudal Japan should revolve around them are now salty it doesn’t

March 27, 2024 at 11:11 pm

Black Girl Gamers:

Not near the set of Shogun, you’re not

March 28, 2024 at 12:15 am

why would any company hide their hiring practices and policies behind a non disclosure agreement and a password protection? That doesn’t make any sense.

March 29, 2024 at 6:18 am

Please please please let them do work for D&D. I want D&D to die after the OGL debacle. It no longer represents what Gary Gygax created as a labor of love. If BGG does work for Hasbro/WotC maybe it will be the gasoline on a fire needed to kill the D&D brand once and for all so that more deserving TTRPGs can take its place.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to our mailing list to get the new updates!